Let me preface the following by saying we chose the cruise exclusively based upon the ports (La Coruna for Santiago, Porto, Lisbon, Cadiz, Gibraltar, and Malaga for Granada/Alhambra). We had never cruised on HAL before, with two prior European cruises being on Carnival and Princess. There were four of us in our traveling party, utilizing 2 inside cabins on the Main deck. Though the cruise began in Rotterdam, we joined the cruise in Harwich.
Embarkation only had a slight hitch as the computers were down, yet we boarded around 11:30 a.m. and our luggage was waiting for us outside our cabins.
Our first impression was the age of our fellow passengers, especially embarking with us in Harwich. As our party consisted of a 59, 62, 72, and 81 year old, we felt like youngsters among the cruisers. Our second impression was the size of our cabin. It was significantly larger than ones we have experienced on Princess or Carnival. It even included a couch! The room steward was efficient(which, as I will later relay, an unusual occurrance on the ship). The public areas were very classy and attractive, especially for an older, smaller ship than we had previously used.